What did you do before entering the Order ?
was born in the North of Vietnam in 1955 when our country was divided
into two parts just a year before. The North was governed by the
Communists and the South by the Nationalists. In order to avoid
living with the Communists, my family moved to the South when I
was 3 months old.
we were in the South of Vietnam, my family moved to several places,
and finally we settled in a small town of the Central Region of
the country. I am the sixth of eight children in a family which
has 4 boys and 4 girls.
was the tradition in Vietnam to send the children to a Minor Seminary
when they finished the Elementary school. And it was the same thing
with me. My parents sent me to the Minor Seminary which was run
by the Foreign Missionaries of France when 10 years old.
1968, the Communists from the North of Vietnam attacked all the
cities in the South on New Year Day, my parents were concerned for
my safety so they withdrew me from the Seminary and again sent me
to the Dominican Postulant School in Saigon, the capital of the
South at the time.
entered the Novicate in 1972 and made the simple vows in August
1973. After the novicate I studied philosophy and theology until
1978 at the Dominican House of studies in Saigon.
1975, the Communists took over the South of Vietnam, many people
left the country and many people were put into prison, and I was
one of them. After three years in prison, I scaped Vietnam as one
of the " boat people " and came to the United States in
arriving in California, I joined the Ordre in the Wester Province,
continued to study Theology and finally I was ordained to priesthood
What appealed to you in the Order ?
was too young to understand priesthood not even the dominican vocation.
But little by little I learned about the Dominican spirituality.
Il fell in love with St. Dominic and his Order. The story of St.
Dominic inspired me to become a Dominican in order to preach the
Good News to others.
What is your apostolic field ?
now I am the Vicar Provincial of the Vietnamese Dominican Vicariate
in the North of America. Besides that I am a pastor in a parish
which has around 3000 parishioners. Sometimes during the year I
go to preach retreats for different Vietnamese communities in Canada
and in the United States.
What is your great contentment in the Ordre ?
a Dominican, my greatest joy is to follow the steps of St. Dominic
bringing the Good News to others by preaching for the younf people.
What is the dream you would like to fulfil ?
dream which I would like to fulfill is that when my term of Vicar
Provincial finishes, I could ask my Superior to study some more.
Being a Dominican I feel the need to study more and more in order
to share knowledge and wisdom with the others. The more we study
the more we are close to the truth, Veritas.
you say a few words about your Vicariate ?
Vicariate was established in 1981, in Calgary (Canada), with the
goal to support those who just escaped the Communists and those
who went abroad to study but couldn't return to their country, and
also to support the Province of Vietnam which has to endure a diffulcult
time in our homeland. At the beginning we had 13 bethren, today
we have 32 friars, 22 priests and 10 students (including the novices).
Our brothers are doing ministry in different fields : teaching,
chaplains in universities and High Schools, chaplains in Hospitals,
parochial ministry, preaching retreats
We have one priory
in Calgary and one house in Vancouver. Besides that, we have 3 small
communities in which two or three brothers are living together.
What are your plans for the future ?
to the Lord who has sent young people to us every year (that's why
our Vicariate is growing), our immediate plan is to find the resources
to built a new priory so that we have enough space for our brothers
to live and to work. Besides, we are developing a program of faith
teaching which has the 3 year-cycle and that our preaching team
could use to help the people.
What would you say to a young man who would think of entering the
Andrew saw Jesus, he asked him : " Lord, where are you living
? " Jesus answered : " come and see ". That is what
I would say to a young man who wants to become a Dominican. It is
important for him to experience our life and our ministry at first
(hand) in order to join us. And as Andrew met Jesus he stayed with
Him, I hope that when a young man comes to us, he will be inspired
by our witnesses to the Truth and will stay with us all his life.
by Fr. Manuel Rivero O.P. (Toulouse Province).